Does Renters Insurance Cover Storage Units?

Yes, renters insurance covers storage units—but coverage is usually only 10% of your normal limit. Here’s what you need to know.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Renters insurance covers your belongings anywhere, even in a storage unit. However, there are some significant limitations. Here’s a quick overview of how to choose the right policy to protect your stuff in a storage unit.
If you have items in a storage unit, you need to make sure they are protected by insurance. Your renters policy does offer some protection, but you may need more depending on what you’re storing. 
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Does renters insurance cover belongings in a storage unit?

Yes! In fact, your stuff can be anywhere and have some financial protection. Renters insurance for a storage unit is active whether your belongings are stored down the street, in another state, or even in another country. 
Certain perils will be covered by your policy (but not all). For instance, if the storage facility catches fire, your insurance company would help cover costs to replace any damaged or lost items.

Are there coverage limitations to renters policies?

Yes. Renters insurance is primarily intended to cover items inside your normal dwelling. You still have some protection for your storage unit, but it’s usually not 100%. Most policies will only cover items outside your home for up to 10% of the personal property coverage
Let’s say you have a $10,000 policy that covers all your belongings, including items in your home and those in a storage unit. The coverage limit of 10% means that you can only receive up to $1,000 for damages that occur to the property in your storage unit. 
If you need more protection, you can increase your renters insurance coverage limits. Another option is to purchase a specific storage unit insurance policy.
One final tip: Know the difference between named perils vs. open-perils policies.
A named-perils policy only covers the incidents explicitly listed in your policy. Here are some typical named perils in a renters policy:
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Explosions
  • Damage from cars
  • Falling objects
  • Accidental water damage
  • Wind and hail
  • Snow and ice
An open-perils policy is more expensive but covers more hazards. However, it still has some limitations. It excludes things like pest damage, mold, and rust.
Generally speaking, earthquake damage and flood damage are not included in any renters policy—unless you have a specific endorsement for it.
MORE: Does renters insurance cover mold?

How to add additional renters coverage?

If your policy does not cover something you need, it’s easy to add on special protection. This is called purchasing an endorsement or add-on policy. Many people add coverage if they have valuable items (like collectibles or antiques) in their storage unit. 
Your cost will go up, of course, but so will your protection. Without this protection, you will have to pay out-of-pocket to replace your valuable objects.
Here are some of the most common endorsements for renters insurance:
  • Scheduled property coverage: Provides increased coverage limit on specific items, usually valuables like antiques or electronics.
  • Replacement cost coverage: Provides reimbursement for the original amount you paid if an item is damaged or destroyed. This earns you a higher payout, since ACV includes depreciation. 
Each provider is different, but your customization options are fairly broad. Check with your company to see what they can offer to meet your needs.

Should you get storage unit insurance?

A storage unit insurance policy is a good way to increase protection for your storage unit items. 
Some storage facilities offer storage rental insurance (through third-party companies) to increase the limits of your existing renters or homeowners insurance policy. You must normally have an existing renters or homeowners insurance policy to be eligible. 
The storage unit insurance policy would act as a secondary policy—it won’t replace an existing renters policy.
To decide which option is right for you, simply see whether it’s more expensive to up your renters coverage limits or take out a secondary storage unit insurance policy. 

Tips for keeping your items safe in storage

Ideally, you will never find yourself in a situation where you have to file a damage claim—but some things are out of your control. 
Here are a few things you can control when it comes to securing a storage unit:
  • Store your stuff correctly. Plastic bags can harbor mold and mildew, while cardboard boxes are highly susceptible to moisture. Plastic bins are the safest way to store your stuff—just make sure they’re ventilated.
  • Don’t store valuables. The risk of theft for a storage unit is higher than for a primary dwelling. Avoid storing money, jewelry, and other valuables in a self-storage facility.
  • Plan and label carefully. The only thing worse than loading stuff into a storage unit is trying to find a small item amidst piles and piles of boxes. Label boxes clearly and stack them by category. Keep an inventory list to make it easier to file an insurance claim. 

Final summary

Here’s what to remember about renters insurance and storage units:
  • Renters insurance offers some coverage to items in a storage unit, but usually a much lower amount (10% or so).
  • Common perils are covered, such as theft, fire, and vandalism.
  • You can increase coverage by adding an endorsement to up your limits or getting secondary storage rental insurance.
  • Write down what’s in your storage unit, including detailed descriptions, in case you need to file an insurance claim.

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